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Cranky Uncle crowdfunding campaign launches!

Posted on 3 December 2019 by John Cook

Cranky Uncle Matching Gift! We're closing in on our stretch goal to fund Cranky Uncleas an Android app. $6,000 will finish this stretch goal. To get us over the line, two anonymous contributors have agreed to match other contributions until midnight of December 31st, dollar for dollar up to $3,000, taking us past the post. Double your impact by contributing right now while you're thinking about it! To all those who've already contributed, a huge Thank You! 

We've just launched our crowdfunding campaign to develop the Cranky Uncle smartphone game. The purpose of this free game is to teach resilience against misinformation. We've already tested the game in college classes across the country, finding it increases students' ability to detect reasoning fallacies in misinformation across a range of topics. You can donate to help turn our game into reality at the Cranky Uncle Crowdfunding Page.

Lest I bury the lede, I should mention the most time-sensitive element of our crowdfunding campaign: I'm going to personally draw the first 97 early birds who donate $250 or more in our Giving Tuesday event. These cartoons will be an integral part of the game, used in critical thinking quiz questions that help players practice spotting logical fallacies in false arguments. But I'm only offering this reward to the first 97 Cameo donors because I have to draw you all myself and there are only so many hours in the day! Here's what the process looks like (starring Brendan deMelle from Desmogblog):

We are actually offering a wide range of rewards and swag for supporters of the Cranky Uncle game. While you get a brief overview of the rewards at the Cranky Uncle crowdfunding page, here is a more detailed breakdown of each reward:

$10 or more: Game Supporter

Anyone who donates $10 or more will get their name listed in the credits of the game as well as on the website. You'll also receive behind-the-scenes updates as we develop the game and conduct research into how cartoons, critical thinking, and gameplay can counter misinformation. That's right, the inside scoop on cutting-edge research into how the combination of art, science, and technology can overcome fake news - who wouldn't want a piece of that?!

$25 or more: Beta Tester

As well as Game Supporter rewards (credit + behind-the-scenes updates), you'll get the opportunity to be an early access beta-tester. In other words, you can help us shape the Cranky Uncle game, making it more effective in building resilience against misinformation (as well as more fun and entertaining). In addition, I have created three Cranky Uncle digital wallpapers that you can use on the background of your computer or tablet - these will be exclusive to supporters of the Cranky Uncle game:


$50 or more: Cranky Uncle Book

On 25 February 2020, I'll publish the 176-page book, Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, published by Kensington Books.

This book examines every aspect of climate science denial, using cartoons and critical thinking to debunk myths denying the reality of global warming, human-causation of climate change, the severity of climate impacts, and denial of climate science itself. Because the book is such a comprehensive treatment of climate misinformation, I've spent the last year grabbing cartoons from the book and posting responses to current climate misinformation on Instagram or Twitter.

As well as Beta Tester rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, and digital wallpapers), anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a copy of the book to be sent out when the book is published.

$97 or more: The 97% Club

A few months ago, geologist Callan Bentley asked if I could supply a cartoon poster for a climate art gallery he was organizing. I dusted off the artwork from the 97 Hours of Consensus and adapted it into a poster. Here is a 30 x 20 inch version of the poster which was displayed at Callan's climate art gallery:

While organizing the different donor levels for our crowdfunding campaign, I felt a gravitational pull towards including a $97 reward level, and once that decision was made, it seemed inevitable that we include a 97% consensus poster as swag (well, it does in hindsight). So we made some adjustments to the original poster (added a background) and increased the size to 35 x 25 inches.

As well as Cranky Book rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, and the Cranky Book), anyone who donates $97 or more will receive the 97% consensus poster. Not only will you get a cool cartoon poster for your wall, you'll also be raising awareness of the 97% scientific consensus on climate change - shown in many studies to be a highly effective climate communication message. And you'll help solve that public malaise where most people can't name a living scientist!

$125 or more: Cranky Moods T-Shirt

As you play the Cranky Uncle game, you learn new denial techniques and accumulate cranky points. Your goal is to earn so many cranky points that you become a cranky uncle. This feature of the game is (somewhat) reflected in the Cranky Moods T-shirt. 

As well as 97 Club rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, the Cranky Book, and the 97% consensus poster), anyone who donates $125 or more will receive the Cranky Moods T-shirt. The T-shirt sizes available are S, M, L, XL, 2XL, and 3XL.

$150 or more: Make Earth Cool Again Cap

As I wrote and drew Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change in 2018, the cartoon character that grew on me the most was Earth - the suffering (but adorable) victim of climate change. He was so much fun to draw, I kept coming up with new reasons to include him more in the book (anyone who knows Deke Arndt will know where I'm going with the below comic strip).

So of course I had to include an Earth cartoon in the Cranky Uncle rewards. A Make Earth Cool Again cap seemed an obvious idea - it lets you publicly show your support for climate action with an adorable Earth cartoon character! 

As well as the Cranky Moods T-shirt rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, the Cranky Book, the 97% consensus poster, and the Cranky Moods T-shirt), anyone who donates $150 or more will receive the Make Earth Cool Again cap. You can choose a blue or green cap.

$250 or more: EARLY BIRD: Cameo!

One key to the success of educational games is that they're fun and entertaining, as well as instructive. A recurring comment we've heard from students so far who played the game was overwhelmingly positive reaction to the cartoons scattered throughout the game (my other favorite comment from a student was "it helps you outsmart boomers"). In the game, I use cartoons both to explain fallacies (a technique known as parallel argumentation) and in quiz questions.

Having drawn cartoon caricatures of climate scientists in the 97 Hours of Consensus campaign, and being a glutton for punishment, I decided to offer to draw donors and include them in cartoons used throughout the game. But I am setting a cap on the number of people I'll be drawing for this reward to 97. Yes, I do have a bit of a thing for that number!

As well as the Make Earth Cool Again Cap rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, the Cranky Book, the 97% consensus poster, the Cranky Moods T-shirt, and the Make Earth Cool Again cap), I will draw the first 97 people who donate $250 or more and include them in the game! This is a first-in-first-served offer - once we hit 97 donors, this reward level will be closed. Sorry but I'm just one person and there are only so many hours in the day!

$1000 or more: Producer

As well as the Cameo rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, the Cranky Book, the 97% consensus poster, the Cranky Moods T-shirt, the Make Earth Cool Again cap, and getting drawn in the game), anyone who donates $1000 or more will be listed as a Producer in the game/website credits.

$5000 or more: Executive Producer

As well as the Cameo rewards (credit, behind-the-scenes updates, beta-testing, digital wallpapers, the Cranky Book, the 97% consensus poster, the Cranky Moods T-shirt, the Make Earth Cool Again cap, and getting drawn in the game), anyone who donates $5000 or more will be listed as a Executive Producer in the game/website credits.

The greatest reward: supporting the fight against climate denial!

Swag is great. But ultimately, the Cranky Uncle game is about fighting climate denial, removing a roadblock that has delayed meaningful climate action for decades. By supporting our crowdfunding campaign, you help us release a game that will build a more resilient public against misinformation. The greater the amount of support we receive, the more ambitious we get with this game and the greater the societal impact. The more funding we raise, the closer we get to our vision of getting this free game into classrooms all over the world, creating a generation of students resilient against fake news.

So please donate to help us make the Cranky Uncle game reality. And share our game with your friends, colleagues, and social media networks. Thanks for your support!

John Cook

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. Took about 3 minutes to contribute. Easy and fast. 3 minutes spent contributing to this will be vastly more productive than 3 minutes spent complaining "why doesn't somebody do something?" 

    Be somebody. :-)

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  2. Hi,

    Will this app also be availbe for Androids?

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  3. TVC15 @2

    Hopefully, yes! The plan is to up the ante to $25,000 to also get the Android version once the first goal of $15,000 for iPhone/iPad has been reached. 

    John listed this and additional stretch goals in last week‘s article about the scientific background of the app:

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  4. Just a little heads-up that the iPhone/iPad app will become a reality as the first goal of $15.000 was reached within a week! Here is John Cook's cartoon for the occasion:


    Want to make the Android version available as well? Click here!

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